Most of the ladies liked the book because of characters like the brilliant glass maker Seguso and because of the sense of history, detailed in both the architecture and city life of Venice and in the likes of famous people such as Ezra Pound. I ( Jolene) was in the minority, finding the book boring overall, gossipy in nature. I did like the Italian memories the book revived, as the photos of my childhood gave proof. :)
Beth concluded by saying that she herself found the book uneven, with Berendt's depiction of places like the Barbero Palace well done, on the one hand, but his failure to pull all the pieces of the narrative together, a drawback on the other hand. The evening ended with a clip from the film version of Wings of the Dove by Henry James, a turn-of-the-century period piece shot in 1997 in the Barbero, where James himself had been staying.